A socio-political activist from Kashmir, Waqar H. Bhatti, has been released on interim bail after spending 14 days in jail arrested over a complaint filed by a BJP leader against him for criticising her.
Bhatti was arrested on September 01 after Dr Darakhshan Andrabi, a national executive member of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and chairperson of the Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board, registered a complaint against him.
Andrabi accused Bhatti of hurting her public reputation and inciting people on religious grounds. In her application to Srinagar Police, Andrabi called Bhatti ‘a known anti-India so-called activist’.
“While reacting to a decision of J&K Waqaf Board regarding engaging degree holding Qualified Imams, Khateebs and Muazzins for Waqaf Managed Shrines and Mosques (which has been hailed by majority the peace-loving people of J&K) He has uploaded a very derogatory video on social media in which he has personally attacked me on religious grounds and he has presented me as, a villain working against Islam.”
“His massages are venomous and it is hurting my public repute to the immeasurable level and at the same time he is inciting people on religious grounds,” it reads.
However, Bhatti was released after a judicial court in Srinagar granted him interim bail on September 14. He is booked under section 153 A, 500,506 of the Indian Penal Code.
Syed Shabina, an activist, who is also a provisional Secretary Kashmir of Ghulam Nabi Azad-led DPAP party, said, “After the abrogation of Art 370 the voice of Kashmiris is silenced, those who are selected to power associated to LG administration have been equally responsible to shunt the voices concerning public issues and arbitrary rules.”
“In any part of the country if journalists are treated like animals and social activists like separatists would no longer exist a dominant democracy in the world,” she said. Adding, “This is what is going on in Kashmir post Article 370.”
Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party while reacting to Bhatti’s arrest alleged on X (formerly Twitter) that “Too much democracy in Naya Kashmir!
Deplorable that social activist @WaqarHBhatti14 Bhatti has been detained in an arbitrary way. His family is alleging that an FIR was lodged, picked up in a hostage style just after he issued a video criticising certain nominated officials of this administration.”
“Even family members were not intimated about his whereabouts for three days. Mainstream media is so much pulverized into silence that they couldn’t even report the arrest,” they alleged.
However, Srinagar Police while denying the claims of JKPDP reacted to the tweet and said, “It is emphatically clarified that the facts are mischievously false. The so-called activist has 4 FIRs relating to disturbing communal harmony. 3 family members were accompanying him while he was arrested & also in court. Formal intimation was given to family in mandatory 24 hrs,” Police further said in their tweet.
Adil Nazir Khan, an activist, said, “The complainant is chairperson of the Jammu Kashmir Waqf Board, this is very unfortunate, it should not happen in the Democracy.”
“If anyone is calling him/herself a politician or leader, he/she should have the ability to absorb the words (criticism),” Khan said. If Bhatti has anything wrong said in his video, I’m not supporting it but there should be a right to speak in democracy, he continued.
“Why you (Andrabi) are interfering in our religion,” asked Khan. Adding, she has no right to dictate what to do and what not. “She is no one.”
“The said person is already involved in such type of incidents as is evident from various FIRs (FIR NO.140/2022 U/S 153 A, 195A IPC of P/S Bahu fort Jammu, 84/2020 U/S 153 A,153 B, 504, 506 IPC of P/S Sunderbani Rajouri and 303/2018 U/S 124A RPC of P/S Trikota Nagar Jammu) registered against him,” reads the police report.
“The bent of his mind and method of execution of said crime shows that the subject intended to disturb public order and disrupt the fabric of peace in the society. The above-mentioned accused is not likely to mend his ways and there is every apprehension that his anti-religious/anti-social /anti-national activities might be prejudicial to the religious harmony of the community as a whole and is thus required by this Police Station for further inquiry investigation of the instant case,” it reads.